Postepizootic persistence of asymptomatic Mycoplasma conjunctivae infection in Iberian ibex

Xavier Fernández-Aguilar, Oscar Cabezón, José Enrique Granados, Joachim Frey, Emmanuel Serrano, Roser Velarde, Francisco Javier Cano-Manuel, Gregorio Mentaberre, Arián Ráez-Bravo, Paulino Fandos, Jorge Ramón López-Olvera

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9 Citations (Scopus)


© 2017 American Society for Microbiology. The susceptibility of the Iberian ibex (Capra pyrenaica) to Mycoplasma conjunctivae ocular infection and the changes in their interaction over time were studied in terms of clinical outcome, molecular detection, and IgG immune response in a captive population that underwent a severe infectious keratoconjunctivitis (IKC) outbreak. Mycoplasma conjunctivae was detected in the Iberian ibex, coinciding with the IKC outbreak. Its prevalence had a decreasing trend in 2013 that was consistent with the clinical resolution (August, 35.4%; September, 8.7%; November, 4.3%). Infections without clinical outcome were, however, still detected in the last handling in November. Sequencing and cluster analyses of the M. conjunctivae strains found 1 year later in the ibex population confirmed the persistence of the same strain lineage that caused the IKC outbreak but with a high prevalence (75.3%) of mostly asymptomatic infections and with lower DNA load of M. conjunctivae in the eyes (mean quantitative PCR [qPCR] cycle threshold [CT], 36.1 versus 20.3 in severe IKC). Significant age-related differences of M. conjunctivae prevalence were observed only under IKC epizootic conditions. No substantial effect of systemic IgG on M. conjunctivae DNA in the eye was evidenced with a linear mixed-models selection, which indicated that systemic IgG does not necessarily drive the resolution of M. conjunctivae infection and does not explain the epidemiological changes observed. The results show how both epidemiological scenarios, i.e., severe IKC outbreak and mostly asymptomatic infections, can consecutively occur by entailing mycoplasma persistence.
Original languageEnglish
Article numbere00690-17
JournalApplied and Environmental Microbiology
Issue number15
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2017


  • Asymptomatic infection
  • Capra pyrenaica
  • Host-pathogen interactions
  • Iberian ibex
  • Infection persistence
  • Infectious keratoconjunctivitis
  • Molecular epidemiology
  • Virulence


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